And the children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the LORD: and the LORD strengthened Eglon the king of Moab against Israel…
And perhaps you are ready to say, If we were certain you had, we should hang upon your lips with the utmost attention. Have you, indeed, had any immediate communication from heaven concerning us? No. Have you any new revelation to deliver to us? No: and yet, "I have a message from God unto you": that message is in this book — this book that many of you neglect and despise. "I have a message from God unto you." You are all equally interested in it.
I. To THE YOUNG. It may be you start astonished that I begin with you. You fancy I should begin with the aged who are just stepping into the grave. But how do you know they are nearer death than you?
II. I HAVE A MESSAGE FROM GOD UNTO YOU WHO ARE IN THE MERIDIAN OF LIFE. You who are engaged in its active business — ye merchants, ye tradesmen, I have a message from God unto you: "Be careful for nothing," etc. "Seek ye first the kingdom of God," etc. "What shall it profit a man, if he should gain," etc.
III. I HAVE A MESSAGE TO THE OLD AND GREY-HEADED: "The hoary head is a crown of glory, if it be found in the way of righteousness." Is that honour yours? "Though you walk through the valley," etc. But are you an aged sinner, a hoary-headed trifler, scoffing at eternity, with one foot in the grave? Alas! alas! I have a message from God unto you: "The Judge standeth at the door." "Behold, I come quickly," etc.
IV. I HAVE A MESSAGE FROM GOD UNTO THE RICH. I have a message of warning: "Charge those that are rich in this world," etc. It is a message of caution: "How hardly shall they that have riches," etc. It is a message of admonition. What says the wise man, "Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not?" "Riches make to themselves wings," etc. Are riches the right soil for piety? No — but the most formidable obstruction to its growth.
V. I HAVE A MESSAGE TO THE POOR. Are you poor and pious? Then yours is the kingdom of heaven. "The poor have the gospel preached unto them." The promises of Scripture are principally applicable to the poor.
VI. ARE ANY OF YOU SCEPTICAL? I have a message from God unto you. Are you sincere? Do you really wish to ascertain the truth? I have a message from God unto you: "If any man will do His will," etc., that is the man who shall ascertain the truth, and be emancipated by its freedom. But it is not the man who comes to speculate — who comes to gratify an idle curiosity — who comes cherishing the love of sin; that is not the man who shall know the truth.
VII. IS YOUR MIND DEISTICAL? You want more evidence to prove that this holy book is the Word of God. Do you want mathematical demonstration? It were madness to ask it upon a moral subject. What evidence do you want? Is it evidence of testimony? You have it; and, I venture to say, there is more evidence of the Scriptures than of any other history on the face of the earth. What evidence do you want? Is it the evidence of prophecy? You have it. The Jews, at the present day, are a living and a mighty argument in proof of the truth of the Scriptures. What evidence do you want? Is it the evidence of miracles? That evidence was given in the first ages of Christianity, in order to establish the Divine authority of the Christian system, and, having accomplished it, it is done away; for if miracles had continued to the present hour, they would have ceased to operate in the way of miracles. There is sufficient evidence to justify the ways of God to men in your condemnation, if, after all this evidence, you reject Him.
VIII. Do I SPEAK TO ANY WHO ARE DESPONDING AND PENITENTIAL? What a sudden change! what a delightful contrast! "I have a message from God unto you." "Come, and let us reason together," etc.
(T. Raffles, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And the children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the LORD: and the LORD strengthened Eglon the king of Moab against Israel, because they had done evil in the sight of the LORD.
WEB: The children of Israel again did that which was evil in the sight of Yahweh: and Yahweh strengthened Eglon the king of Moab against Israel, because they had done that which was evil in the sight of Yahweh.